Can taste ever be truly digitised? Confectionery giant Mars Wrigley UK has decided to try and find out. In partnership with Google Cloud they have developed the world’s first ever Maltesers AI Cake. Giving a whole new meaning to the term ‘tech crunch’!
To do it, a top Google Cloud engineer created a Machine Learning model that used hundreds of existing recipes from traybakes to scones to develop the new cake creation called the Maltesers AI Cakes. Which, for Brits not well versed in binary-coded values, is hexadecimal for ‘Mars’.
The AI Cake, which technically speaking is a ‘cakie’ (a hybrid between a cookie and a cake), includes both AI-generated cake and cookie elements. The treat is topped with Marmite infused buttercream frosting after Google Search Trends revealed a top search around “sweet and salty” was “Is Marmite sweet or savoury”.
However, humanity isn’t ready to yield the stove just yet. 2020 Great British Bake Off Winner, Peter Sawkins has been parachuted in to create a competing baking concoction of his own and play his part in the #BakeAgainstTheMachine showdown.
Sawkins took a more human-centric and nostalgic approach, dusting off an old recipe passed down from his mother and giving it a creative twist – soy sauce!
Speaking about his Maltesers masterpiece Peter Sawkins, The Great British Bake Off winner 2020, said: “I wanted to echo what makes Maltesers so moreish, so I incorporated malted milk powder and soy sauce to bring a savoury note to what is otherwise a very sweet bake. It was also important for me to think about creating interesting textures. There should be contrast with the crunch from the base, the rich, thick mousse and the smooth saucy caramel centre.
“Baking against the machine is a fun challenge. Not many people can say they’ve baked head-to-head against a Google Cloud AI.”
Kerry Cavanaugh, Mars Wrigley UK Marketing Director, said: “Cake and computers; and Maltesers and Marmite. The unlikeliest of couples. We’re in the business of creating better moments at Mars Wrigley and, in the spirit of peculiar pairings, we urge you to do the same. We’ve already done the hard work for you with some amazing, and questionable, recipes available online, so all you’ll have to do is the washing up!”
Reflecting on her passions for baking and AI, Sara Robinson, Senior Developer Advocate, Google Cloud, said: “AI is a powerful tool and I love thinking about fun, new applications of it. In this case, maybe it will even inspire other amateur bakers out there to build their own creations! I set out to build a model using Google Cloud AI that could provide the basis for a new recipe featuring Maltesers. Baking is an art as well as a science – it requires finding a delicate balance of ingredients, sprinkled with a bit of magic. AI is the foundation, and human creativity combined with technology made this project shine.”
Image credit: Mars Wrigley
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Editor, International Confectionery
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